How to work

“In a few years I must finish a certain work. I need not hurry myself; there is no good in that—but I must work on in full calmness and serenity, as regularly and concentratedly as possible, as briefly and concisely as possible.”
Van Gogh


A beam in the dark

“The act of making art exposes a society to itself. Art brings things to light. It illuminates us. It sheds light on our lingering darkness. It casts a beam into the heart of our own darkness and says,‘see?’”
Julia Cameron

Confidence and humility

“We must have strong self-confidence combined with deep humility. Some of the greatest works of art and the most important works of peace were created by people who had no need for the limelight. They knew that what they were doing was their call, and they did it with great patience, perseverance, and love.”
Henri Nouwen

The power of good literature

“The power of good literature comes from its ability to reveal us to ourselves in both our glory and our depravity. At its best, literature explores humanity, not just the humanity that we wish we could achieve, though there’s a place for that as well, but the humanity that is, both beautiful and ugly. That is why we read literature, and why it both captivates and disturbs our imaginations.”
Marc Cortez

An act of faith

“We routinely practice a form of faith, seeing clearly and moving toward a creative goal that shimmers in the distance—often visible to us, but invisible to those around us.

Difficult as it is to remember, it is our work that creates the market, not the market that creates our work. Art is an act of faith and we practice practicing it. Sometimes we are called on pilgrimages on its behalf and, like many pilgrims, we doubt the call even as we answer it. But answer we do.”

≈Julia Cameron≈


“…the work of a craftsman is not unlike that of a monk or nun or other kind of ascetic. For however many hours a day the craftsman dedicates herself to the materials of her art. She steps around her longing for an easy, unexamined day and tries to peer through the illusions of the stubborn wood and the refusing posture of metal. She sees, accepts, and calms her own reactions of frustration, of terror, of boredom, of denial, and avoidance.”

≈≈≈David Orth

The reader’s dilemma

“It’s a toss-up which is scarier: living without electronic access to my country’s culture, or trying to survive in that culture without the self-definition I get from regular immersion in literature.”
≈≈≈ Jonathan Franzen in his essay, “The Reader in Exile”


“Baudelaire was right when he called artists beacons.
They light a great fire in the darkness,
and set light to themselves
so as to attract the greatest number of their fellow-beings to them.”

Francois Mauriac